Democracy's Lifecycle?: Marcel Gauchet on Religion and Politics.

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  • Author(s): Kalyvas, Andreas
  • Source:
    European Journal of Social Theory. Nov99, Vol. 2 Issue 4, p485. 12p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      The article presents the author's comments on two books "The Disenchantment of the World. A Politial History of Religion," by Marcel Gauchet and translated by Oscar Burge with a foreword by Charles Taylor and "La religion clans la démocratie. Parcours de la lalcité," by Marcel Gauchet. The author says that both these books should be read simultaneously as two parts of a broader historical narrative regarding the ascent, predominance and actual crisis of democracy. Together they compose a systematic and comprehensive reconstruction of the historical trajectory of modern democracy from the point of view of a liberal historiography. Thus, while first book describes the gradual and tortuous rise and ultimate triumph of the regime of collective autonomy from within and against a religious universe of symbolic heteronomy, the second book advances a diagnosis of a crisis at which democracy has purportedly arrived within the last decade and one that Gauchet attributes to the steady dissolution of the religious universe.